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Our Brazilian librarian: “We speak the Portuguese that’s most widespread”

How do you distinguish between the Portuguese spoken in Portugal and the Portuguese spoken in Brazil?
“We don’t. We just say ‘português’. We own it,” our librarian Urania jokes. “There’s always this fight: The Portuguese say, ‘We speak proper Portuguese’, and we say, ‘We speak the Portuguese that’s most widespread because our population is bigger than yours.’”

Haha. What are the differences?
“In Brazil, Portuguese is mixed with indigenous languages and the influence from Italian and Spanish immigrants and Africans, so there are a lot of words that don’t exist in Portugal.”

Is anything different in terms of grammar?
“The personal pronouns, the way we say ‘you’: We say ‘você’ instead of ‘tu’. We say ‘você’ to our friends, same age or lower. We don’t use ‘tu’.”

So it’s like English? The informal “thou” has become obsolete and the formal “you” has become the norm?

That’s interesting. Are there other differences?
“Some words have more letters in Portugal than in Brazil, like ‘baptismo’ and ‘batismo’ or ‘colectar’ and ‘coletar’. In terms of pronunciation, in most cases, we wouldn’t pronounce the p or c.”

A big thank you to Urania, our librarian, for translating our manifesto into Brazilian Portuguese and for sharing her thoughts.

You can see all the translations of our manifesto we have so far. Is your language missing? We’d be thrilled to hear from you and excited if you want to help us with our Mother Language project.